, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 367–378 | Cite as

Giant ancient landslide in the Alma water gap (Crimean Mountains, Ukraine): notes to the predisposition, structure, and chronology

  • Tomáš PánekEmail author
  • Jan Hradecký
  • Veronika Smolková
  • Karel Šilhán
Original Article


Large-scale ancient landslides of the area of more than 5 km2 and volume exceeding 200 × 106 m3 are characteristic features of the valleys incised in the northern periphery of the Crimean Mountains (Ukraine). The largely affected area is located in the outermost cuesta range of the Crimean Mountains which consists of rigid Sarmatian limestones overlying weak Middle Miocene and Upper Palaeogene deposits. A giant landslide arose in the Alma water gap as a reflection of several coincident preparatory factors such as suitable bedrock stratification, smectite-rich bedrock exposed to swelling activity, presence of faults parallel to the valley trend, and river capture event which preceded the landslide event. The occurrence of such ancient megaslides is particularly interesting in the area which is characterized by low precipitation (<500 mm/year) and weak contemporary seismicity. It probably reflects a more dynamic environment in humid phases of the Holocene; however, seismic triggering along the Mesozoic suture zone cannot be rejected. Compressional features such as gravitational folds in the central and distal parts of the landslide, which probably correlate with the whole landslide genesis or its significant reactivation, arose, according to the radiocarbon dating, during the Holocene climatic optimum in the Atlantic period. The slope deformation has been relatively quiescent since that time, except minor historic reactivization which took place in the frontal part of the landslide. We suppose that the studied landslide could be classified as a transitional type of slope deformation with some signs of spreading and translational block slides.


Low-gradient landslides Lateral spreading Gravitational folding Radiocarbon dating Crimean Mountains Alma River 



The research was supported by a grant project of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, no. 205/06/P185: “Comparison of morphotectonics and geomorphic effect of surface uplift in the highest part of flysch Western Carpathians and Crimean Mountains” funded by Grant Agency of the Czech Republic. We thank to Dr. Gonghui Wang and two anonymous reviewers for their comments. The authors also acknowledge Dr. Václav Šťastný for the completion of mineralogical analyses and Monika Hradecká for revising the English text.


  1. Aylsworth JM, Lawrence DE, Guertin J (2000) Did two massive earthquakes in the Holocene induce widespread landsliding and near-surface deformation in part of the Ottawa Valley, Canada? Geology 28:903–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baroň I, Cílek V, Krejčí O, Melichar R, Hubatka F (2004) Structure and dynamics of deep seated slope failures in the Magura Flysch Nappe, Outer Western Carpathians (Czech Republic). Natural Hazards and Earth System Science 4:549–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benito G (2003) Palaeohydrological changes in the Mediterranean Region during the late quaternary. In: Gregory KJ, Benito G (eds) Palaeohydrology: understanding global change. Wiley, Chichester, UK, pp 123–142Google Scholar
  4. Bichler A, Bobrowsky P, Best M, Douma M, Hunter J, Calvert T, Burns R (2004) Three-dimensional mapping of a landslide using a multi-geophysical approach: the Quesnel Forks landslide. Landslides 1:29–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buma J, van Asch T (1996) Soil (debris) spreading. In: Dikau R, Brunsden D, Schrott L, Ibsen ML (eds) Landslide recognition: identification, movement and courses. Wiley, Chichester, UK, pp 137–148Google Scholar
  6. Cordova CE, Lehman PH (2005) Holocene environmental change in southwestern Crimea (Ukraine) in pollen and soil records. Holocene 15:263–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Derenyuk NE, Vanina MV, Gerasimov MY, Pirovarov SV (1984) Geological map of the Crimea. Scale 1:200,000. Geological Ministry of Ukraine, Kiev (in Russian)Google Scholar
  8. Dikau R, Brunsden D, Schrott D, Ibsen ML (eds) (1996) Landslide recognition: identification, movement and causes. Wiley, Chichester, UKGoogle Scholar
  9. Ena AV (1987) Vozrastnaya indikaciya gravitacionnych obrazovaniy Gornovo Kryma (na primere gory Yuznaya Demerdzhi). Geomorfologia 2:57–62 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  10. Geertsema M, Clague JJ (2006) 1,000-year record of landslide dams at Halden Creek, northeastern British Columbia. Landslides 3:217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Geertsema M, Cruden DM, Schwab JW (2005) A large rapid landslide in sensitive glaciomarine sediments at Mink Creek, northwestern British Columbia, Canada. Eng Geol 83:36–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Glade T, Kadereit A, Dikau R (2001) Landslides at the Tertiary escarpments in Rheinhesse, Southwest Germany. Z Geomorphol 125:65–92Google Scholar
  13. Griffiths JS, Hart AB, Mather AE, Stokes M (2005) Assessment of some spatial and temporal issues in landslide initiation within the Río Aguas Catchment, South-East Spain. Landslides 2:183–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Klyukin AA (1978) O vozraste opolzney v dolinach proryva rek tcherez kuestovye gryady Kryma. Geomorfologia 2:72–79 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  15. Margielewski W (2006) Structural control and types of movements of rock mass in anisotropic rocks: case studies in the Polish Flysch Carpathians. Geomorphology 77:47–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mather AE, Griffiths JS, Stokes M (2003) Anatomy of fossil landslide from the Pleistocene of SE Spain. Geomorphology 50:135–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Miller BGN, Cruden DM (2002) The Eureka River landslide and dam, Peace River Lowlands, Alberta. Can Geotech J 39:863–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nikonov AA (1995) The stratigraphic method in the study of large past earthquakes. Quat Int 25:47–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nikonov AA, Sergeyev AP (1996) Seismogravitatsionnye narushenia reliefa v Krymu pri zemlietriaseniyach 1927 goda. Geoekologia 3:124–133 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  20. Pánek T, Hradecký J, Smolková V, Šilhán K (2008) Gigantic low-gradient landslides in the northern periphery of Crimean Mountains (Ukraine). Geomorphology 95:449–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Parry S, Campbell SDG (2007) Deformation associated with a slow moving landslide, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, China. Bull Eng Geol Environ 66:135–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pašek J, Košťák B (1977) Svahové pohyby blokového typu. Rozpravy ČSAV 87 Academia, Praha (in Czech)Google Scholar
  23. Pollet N, Cojean R, Couture R, Schneider JL, Strom AL, Voirin C, Wassmer P (2005) A slab-on-slab model for the Flims rockslide (Swiss Alps). Can Geotech J 42:587–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pustovityenko BG, Pantyeleyeva TA (1990) Spektralniye i otchagoviye parametry zemlyetraseniy Kryma. Naukova dumka, Kiiv (in Russian)Google Scholar
  25. Runge J (2004) Stone-line. In: Goudie AS (ed) Encyclopedia of geomorphology. Routledge, New York, pp 997–998Google Scholar
  26. Saintot A, Angelier J, Chorowicz J (1999) Mechanical significance of structural patterns identified by remote sensing studies: a multiscale analysis of tectonic structures in Crimea. Tectonophysics 313:187–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smolyaninova EI, Mikhaylov VO, Lyakhovsky VA (1996) Numerical modelling of regional neotectonic movements in the northern Black Sea. Tectonophysics 266:221–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Varkhushev BA (1997) Geodinamika karsta Krymsko-Kavkazskovo regiona. In: Geodynamika Krymsko-Tchernomorskovo regiona, Simferopol, Ukraine, pp 120–127 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  29. Yamada Y, Ueda S, Kaneda K, Baba K, Matsuoka T (2004) Analogue and digital modelling of accretionary wedges (poster). Abstracts of 32nd International Geological Congress, Florence, Italy, 20–28 AugustGoogle Scholar
  30. Yudin VV (1997) Krym i Sachalin: geodynamitcheskye analogii i prognoz seismitchnosti. In: Geodynamika Krymsko-Tchernomorskovo regiona, Simferopol, Ukraine, pp 12–15 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  31. Yudin VV, Gerasimov ME (1997) Geodynamitcheskaya model Krymsko-Tchernomorskovo i prilegayishtchich regionov. In: Geodynamika Krymsko-Tchernomorskovo regiona, Simferopol, Ukraine, pp 16–23 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  32. Yudin VV, Gerasimov ME (1998) Novyeyshaya geodynamika i seysmogennye zony Kryma. Izvestnik Krymskoy Akademii Nauk 6:10–12Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomáš Pánek
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan Hradecký
    • 1
  • Veronika Smolková
    • 1
  • Karel Šilhán
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations